RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

5 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

August 18, 2015 12:15 am

It is no secret summer is the more popular time of year to complete a home remodel. In fact, remodeling contractor queries on Angie’s List in June, July and August total one-third of all remodeling contractor queries in the other nine months of the year. The most popular remodeling projects, per Angie’s List data, include kitchen, bathroom and bedroom overhauls, updated lighting, and expanded closets and pantries.

According to Angie Hicks, co-founder of Angie’s List, hiring too quickly for a home remodeling project can lead to serious consequences. To ensure you hire the right professional for your project, Hicks advises:

• Researching 5 to 10 potential companies to determine local reputation, how well their work stands the test of time, and if they specialize in the work you want done;

• Getting at least three written estimates to compare costs and timeliness;

• Verifying applicable trade license, bonding and insurance status;

• Insisting on a payment schedule tied to project progress and keeping at least 10 percent back until the job is complete to your satisfaction;

• Including the payment schedule and a termination clause in your written contract that allows you to walk away easier if terms are not met.

Source: Angie’s List

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Telltale Signs of an Uncle Sam Impersonator

August 17, 2015 2:15 am

Following the emergence of new variations of widespread tax scams, taxpayers should remain on high alert to protect themselves from the ever-evolving array of deceitful tactics scammers use, warns the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These schemes — which can occur over the phone, in e-mails or through letters with authentic looking letterhead — try to trick taxpayers into providing personal financial information or scare people into making a false tax payment that ends up with the criminal.

Scammers posing as IRS agents first targeted those they viewed as most vulnerable, such as older Americans, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. These criminals have expanded their net and are now targeting virtually anyone.

In a new variation, scammers alter what appears on your telephone caller ID to make it seem like they are with the IRS or another agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles. They use fake names, titles and badge numbers. They use online resources to get your name, address and other details about your life to make the call sound official. They even go as far as copying official IRS letterhead for use in email or regular mail.

Brazen scammers will even provide their victims with directions to the nearest bank or business where the victim can obtain a means of payment, such as a debit card. And in another new variation of these scams, con artists may then provide an actual IRS address where the victim can mail a receipt for the payment — all in an attempt to make the scheme look official.

The most common theme with these tricks seems to be fear. Scammers try to scare people into reacting immediately without taking a moment to think through what is actually happening. These scam artists often angrily threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation or other similarly unpleasant things. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests, sometimes through “robo-calls,” via phone or email. The emails will often contain a fake IRS document with a telephone number or email address for your reply.

It is important to remember the official IRS website is IRS.gov. Taxpayers are urged not to be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. Taxpayers should never provide personal information, financial or otherwise, to suspicious websites or strangers calling out of the blue.

Remember, the IRS will never:


• Angrily demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

• Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

• Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

And if you think you’re the target of an IRS impersonation scam:

• If you actually do owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

• If you know you don’t owe taxes or do not immediately believe that you do, you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484.

• If you’ve been targeted by any scam, be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

Source: IRS

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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